Regional electricity provider Horizon Power was fined $40,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court on 4 February 2020 for incorrect work in Kununurra that caused a fire and the telecommunications equipment at various properties to become potentially unsafe.
Horizon Power was also ordered to pay $1,516.40 in costs, after earlier pleading guilty to breaching the Electricity Regulations 1947.
The court heard that when Horizon Power personnel were replacing a network transformer pole on Weaber Plains Road, Kununurra in October 2017, a linesperson incorrectly re-connected an aerial bundled cable active conductor to a neutral conductor for unmetered supply equipment, causing a nearby Telstra communications node to be supplied with 415 volts rather than the usual 230 volts.
With the connection not properly tested before work was completed, the error was only discovered when a fire broke out at Telstra equipment that had become live on a private property six kilometres away.
Executive Director of Energy Safety Saj Abdoolakhan welcomed the penalty imposed by the court.
“We take electrical safety extremely seriously and, when an incident occurs, the department conducts the necessary thorough investigations which in this case has led to a successful prosecution.
“Any company participating in a regulated industry must ensure there are adequate checks in place so staff follow safety procedures correctly, especially when the consequences are so serious as to jeopardise not only their own safety, but that of the general public as well.”